Did a two-minute audition spot for a standup competition this week. Was able to squeeze in three bits. Afterwards I wondered if I shoulda gone for more one-liners. Get more mileage that way.
Talked about it with the comic who went before me and he said though he normally prefers to do bits, in situations like that he tries to get four quick setup/punch jokes in and then tell one bit at the end. His explanation was something like this: "Look at who gets 'Live at Gotham' and those other shows...It's the guys who tell jokey jokes, not long bits."
Then last night at Kabin, I walked out feeling almost the opposite. Had a fun set but the quick jokes I did felt flatter than the longer bits. Maybe it was my delivery. They still worked, just had to fight to get 'em over. As soon as I got into some longer bits and more personal stuff, I felt more relaxed and the crowd started to get into it more. It really all depends on time/place/crowd/mood...so many moving parts. Part of what makes standup so fascinating.
Btw, that Kabin show is really killing it, def one of the best shows going downtown right now. Everyone had a great set at it last night. And man, Dan St. Germaine had a breakout spot at the end. The crowd just loved his long act outs, which get very theatrical and keep going. He even got a standing ovation from a couple of people there. Always fun to watch people you know have a "next level" set like that.
Sandpaper Suit is NYC standup comic Matt Ruby's (now defunct) comedy blog. Keep in touch: Sign up for Matt's weekly Rubesletter. Email email@example.com.
Quick jokes or longer bits?
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tough call on auditions. i would agree with the "live at gotham" assessment. gotta get out to kabin soon! st. germaine IS ripping it everytime he gets up. good for him.
Matt McCarthy and Eric Andre didn't have jokey jokes. I say be yourself and make sure to include your funniest stuff.
McCarthy and André are both very theatrical performers with big act outs though. That's a whole different angle to take. When you have a huge, actorly, showy presentation style, your jokes become a lot less important than the way you tell them (e.g. Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia). Not comparing McCarthy and André to those guys, but you get what I mean.
If the opposite of jokey jokes is long bits, you want to make sure your long bits are packed with jokes a la Sarah Silverman.
Agreed Abbi. I look at Paul F. Tompkins, Mulaney, and Louis CK as the best (right now) at doing long bits that are still captivating all the way through. But not sure how well even those guys would fare in a 2 minute audition setting (thus revealing the limitations of that format as a way to measure comics).
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